The Gloucester Rugby players named in England's Under 20 Elite Player squad learned yesterday that they will be taking on the host nation Argentina as well as France and Ireland in the pool stages of next summer's IRB Junior World Championship.
England, coached by Mark Mapletoft, have reached the tournament's two previous finals and go to South America in June 2009 looking to claim a first title global title.
They are based in Rosario for the three pool games, starting against the host nation on Saturday, June 5. They take on Ireland on June 9 and fifth seeds France on June 13. The fourth round and finals day are on June 17 and 21.
This year England beat Japan 43-0, Scotland 30-7, Samoa 52-7 and South Africa 40-21 in Tokyo before losing 44-28 to New Zealand in the JWC final.
"Playing the host nation Argentina in the opening game next summer will be a great occasion," said Mapletoft, who won his only England cap in Buenos Aires in 1997.
"We had that experience against Japan this year in Tokyo when the atmosphere was brilliant and the welcome we got made it extra special.
"Argentina are now a major nation on the world stage at senior level and that will filter down to their Under 20 side.
"The other games will be intriguing as we'll already have faced Ireland and France. By the end of the RBS Under 20 Six Nations in March we'll have a clear idea of our chances of progressing through the group stages in Argentina."
Next year's tournament is in a new 12-team format with the three pool winners and the best-ranked runner-up playing in the tournament semi finals on June 17 in Rosario, where the final and bronze medal matches will be staged on June 21.
England start their preparations for the campaign with two days at Twickenham this month and training camps in December and January before kicking off the Six Nations against Wales on February 5.
Mapletoft can call on 16 players capped at Under 20 level last season, including seven who took part in the JWC in Tokyo
IRB Junior World Championship pools
Pool A (Santa Fe, Parana): New Zealand, Wales, Samoa, Fiji
Pool B (Rosario): England, France, Ireland, Argentina
Pool C (Santa Fe, Parana): South Africa, Australia, Scotland, Tonga
England Under 20 Elite Player Squad
Joe Marler (Harlequins)**, Lee Imiolek (Sale Sharks), Jamie George (Saracens)**, Arthur Ellis (London Wasps)*, Shaun Knight (Gloucester Rugby)**, Mako Vunipola (Bristol Rugby), Kieran Brookes (Newcastle Falcons), Calum Green (Leicester Tigers), Danny Wright (Gloucester Rugby)*, James Gaskell (Sale Sharks)**, Peter Elder (London Wasps)*, Jamie Gibson (London Irish)*, Joe Trayfoot (Harlequins), Jacob Rowan (Leeds Carnegie)*, Will Welch (Newcastle Falcons), Alex Gray (Newcastle Falcons), Jackson Wray (Saracens)
Sam Harrison (Leicester Tigers)*, Jordi Pasqualin (Gloucester Rugby)*, Sam Stuart (Harlequins), Freddie Burns (Gloucester Rugby)*, Rory Clegg (Harlequins)**, Jake Sharp (Saracens), Tom Catterick (Newcastle Falcons), Tom Casson (Saracens)*, Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Sam Smith (Harlequins), Christian Wade (London Wasps), Marcus Watson (London Irish), Will Hurrell (Leicester Tigers)**, Tom Homer (London Irish)**, Jack Wallace (London Wasps)
**2009 Junior World Cup squad
*Capped in the 2009 RBS U20 Six Nations
Speaking ahead of Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Newcastle Falcons (kick off 3pm), Director of Rugby David Humphreys emphasised the importance this weekend of Gloucester building on last week's impressive home victory against the Exeter Chiefs.
Speaking to the assembled national and local media, try-scorer Jonny May was delighted and relieved to have tasted victory on Saturday evening, and is looking forward to the European Rugby Challenge Cup final.
Tom Savage delivered a Man of the Match performance against Exeter Chiefs on his birthday on Saturday evening. He spoke to GRTV after the game about the importance of the European Rugby Challenge Cup win.
Speaking to the local media this week, John Afoa described the hard work that the Cherry and White have been putting in and that he is fighting fit ready for Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi final clash with Exeter Chiefs.
Gloucester Rugby face Exeter Chiefs this Saturday in the European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final, and Charlie Sharples, who starts at full back is relishing the challenge of the big Kingsholm occasion.
Gloucester meet the Exeter Chiefs for the fourth time in competitive action this weekend, this time in the semi-final of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. Director of Rugby David Humphreys told the local media this week that this is the sort of game that Gloucester want to be involved in on a regular basis and that he and his team are looking forward to it.
Gloucester Rugby return to Aviva Premiership action against the Newcastle Falcons on Saturday (Kingsholm, kick off 3pm), and make several changes to the side that defeated Exeter Chiefs at home last weekend.